MEDICAL Travel insurance


If you’re going on holiday more than once, multi-trip might be cheaper. But if Australia’s your only trip abroad this year, a single-trip policy will cost you less.


Medical cover

There’s a reciprocal healthcare agreement in place with Australia that means you’ll be treated for free at public hospitals. But it’s not a substitute for travel insurance with adequate medical cover.

Under the agreement, you’re still liable for the cost of ambulance travel and treatment at doctors’ surgeries. It also won’t pay for repatriation if you’re seriously hurt.

The costs of these could run to many thousands of pounds, but the right travel insurance will cover them.

If you get ill or have an accident while on holiday, the medical cover part of your travel insurance will cover the costs of any treatment you need while abroad.

The cost of receiving treatment overseas can be eye-watering. It can easily run to tens of thousands of pounds if you’re hospitalised. That’s why it’s the most important part of any travel insurance policy.

To make a claim, you’ll have to pay an excess, which is the contribution you make towards the cost of a claim. Check how much the excess is on policies and choose one you can comfortably afford.

It depends on exactly where in Europe you’re going, but consumer group Whichecommends cover of at least £5 million.

If you’re on a family or couples policy, look for medical cover with at least that amount per person.

Medical treatments in certain places, such as the USA, Canada, Caribbean and Mexico, can be particularly expensive, so you might want to consider policies offering medical cover of at least £5 million.

When you get quotes for travel insurance you’ll be asked if you already suffer from any medical conditions, such as heart problems, diabetes or asthma.

Always be honest about this. If you don’t tell your insurer about any pre-existing medical conditions you have, your policy could be void, and you won’t be covered for the condition.

This means your insurer might reject any claims you make.

You can get quotes through us that’ll include cover for many medical conditions, but if you have more serious medical issues it might be harder to find cover. The Money Helper has put together a directory of insurance providers that might be able to cover you. You can find the directory at the Money Helper.


As well as undeclared medical conditions, you should be aware of the following exclusions:

Incidents involving alcohol and non-prescription drugs
While your insurer will expect you to enjoy a few drinks on your trip, if you drank enough alcohol to impair your judgement, your insurer can refuse to pay out.

Check your policy – insurers sometimes specify exactly how intoxicated you can be before they refuse to pay out.

Similar rules apply to non-prescription drugs, but some insurers won’t pay out if you’ve taken drugs in any quantity.

Injuries relating to violence
If you’re injured due to a fight, your insurer won’t pay out – unless you were acting in self-defence.

Adventurous activities
Extreme sports, such as horse riding, quad biking and white water rafting, might not be covered as standard by your travel insurance.


Our EHIC is free to apply for and entitles you to treatment on the same terms and costs as locals in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

It’s only a supplement to travel insurance though, not a replacement. It’s far more limited. An EHIC won’t repatriate you to the UK for further treatment, for example. That’s where medical cover comes in.

If you don’t have an EHIC, and find yourself in hospital, your insurer can refuse to pay out if it states in your travel insurance that you must have a card.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, use of the EHIC is likely to change. Keep an eye on the NHS EHIC page to get the most up to date information.


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